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Forrester Raises Outlook on E-Reader Sales

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on October 06, 2009

Santa will be filling his sleigh with a lot of e-book readers this holiday season. In a report released Tuesday, technology researcher Forrester estimates 900,000 e-readers will sell in the U.S. in November and December. That brings the year’s total to 3 million devices, up considerably from the firm’s estimate earlier this year of 2 million.

Amazon’s much-hyped Kindle readers are hardly the only reason for Forrester’s rosier outlook. Sony’s line of readers will be available in more than 9,000 retail stores this holiday season, and its wider range of prices (from $199 to $399) should appeal to more buyers. Another big selling point in Sony’s favor: access to Google’s library of over 1 million digitized, public domain books. “Forrester’s data and anecdotal evidence from vendors suggests that having more content is an important marketing feature of eReader devices, even if consumers end up buying bestsellers and ignoring the long tail of free and for-sale content,” analyst Sarah Rotman Epps writes in the report.

Amazon and Sony readers need a great holiday season because the New Year will bring new competition in the category. A diverse field of e-reader entrants includes ASUS, iRex, and Plastic Logic. And don’t forget the 800 lb. gorilla in the room: the rumored tablet computer from Apple. “If Apple decides to support ePub and PDF files in its iTunes store, it will become a major player in the eBook market overnight,” Epps writes.

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Reader Comments


October 7, 2009 03:50 AM

Since the Kindle & Sony eReaders already run Linux, they should go all of the way & run Android. This would transform them, from great eReaders, to great eReaders/app platforms.

Certainly, not all of the Android apps would be appropriate, for an e-Ink display (e.g. video), but things like:

1. listening to music,
2. browsing the web (using Fast Flip would be cool!),
3. reading/writing email, IMs, SMS, blogs, etc.,
4. viewing/editing docs (with Google Apps, Zoho, Quickoffice, DocumentsToGo, etc.),
5. viewing maps,

would be great!

Clint Brauer

October 8, 2009 11:51 AM

Wow...that's quite an adjustment to their "forecast". Wasn't this the same firm that said ebooks were not going to be a success a couple of years ago?

Anyways, hopefully this analyst does a better job than analyst's-past at Forrester.

I will give Sarah credit for calling out that Sony is finally doing a good job of getting active in the market. In my opinion right now they are the biggest factor in the market.

Clint Brauer
General Manager

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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